Tuesday, December 09, 2008

NBC Cuts 10PM From Primetime and Adds Jay Leno to 10PM; ABC Adds Special Wipeout on Super Bowl Sunday; 2009 WGA Awards Nominees

It is now official...Jay Leno will not move on to ABC and stay with NBC, but with a twist ... in primetime! Jay Leno will host a new comedy/talk show on NBC five nights a week in primetime, beginning in the fall of 2009. The show will originate from Burbank, Calif., and will air Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m./9-10 p.m. CT. This show will be the first-ever entertainment program to be stripped across primetime on broadcast network television.
Leno will sign off as host of The Tonight Show on Friday, May 29, 2009. His new show will showcase many of the features that have made Leno America's late-night leader for more than a dozen years. Signature elements will include his opening monologue and well-known comedy segments "Headlines," "Jaywalking" and "Battle of the Jaywalking All-Stars."
As previously announced, Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show hosting duties on Monday, June 1, 2009, broadcasting from the state-of-the-art studio currently under construction on the Universal lot. O'Brien will continue an unmatched late-night legacy that includes Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and, for the last 16 years, Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon will assume the role of host of Late Night on March 2, 2009.
So what does this all mean? NBC is in terrible shape right now both in the ratings and financially. They have been stuck in 4th place in the ratings for some years now and recently many employees were laid off. With this move, NBC will slice off five-hours from their weeknight schedule and air the cheaper Leno series. The new Leno deal is up to 50 million a year for 5 years, while the show doesn't cost too much to produce so NBC will benefit from a financial aspect in this hour as shows like Law & Order and ER cost a lot to produce. This means many primetime shows on NBC could be cut next fall. Many of them could be veteran series. Nothing has been officially announced as dead yet but series such as Kath & Kim, My Name is Earl, Knight Rider, Life, and Friday Night Lights could be cut, while Chuck, Medium, and the original Law & Order series could go either way. ER is already ending this season, so that will obviously be gone, while Lipstick Jungle is canceled and the cheap Crusoe is also canceled despite low production costs but the ratings were terrible. And if Heroes continues its downward trend, NBC could cut it also as that series costs a lot to make. Law & Order: SVU, The Biggest Loser, The Office, are some of the series likely to remain on NBC.
There is word also that NBC could give Saturday nights back to their affiliates to program. So that would be another three-hours that NBC could lose. As of now, they will only program 17 hours a week, and could be as low as 14 if they lose Saturday. That would be lower than Fox, which has 15.
What do I think? I think this is great for Jay Leno and I am happy for him but what is NBC thinking? I know they have to cut costs and stuff, but there is no way they can expand on finding hits without the 10pm hour. Leno gets 4 million or so in late night and will likely go up a bit in primetime, but every weekday it will get tiresome. Leno will have to face entertainment dramas and not go up against similar late night shows. This also could hurt NBC's other late night shows, as now they will have yet another one. They already have The Tonight Show, Late Night, and Last Call. Four talk shows in one night? You can expect ABC and CBS's 10pm shows to rise next fall without NBC. It is still not known though if NBC will even count Leno's series in their primetime averages. NBC's 10pm shows the last few years have been a bright spot for them with series such as Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, Medium, and even ER doing higher ratings than anything from 8-10pm. It is not a guarantee they can just move down an hour and generate the same ratings. Law & Order moved to Wednesdays at 9 a few years ago and got crushed by Criminal Minds on CBS, and was quickly moved back to 10pm. NBC has made some weird moves lately and have already back-fired. Last development season, they eliminated the expensive pilot process, a move that saved money but backfired after all of its fall shows flopped, such as My Worst Own Enemy. They picked-up series without actually seeing a pilot. Also, their "infront" last April was a total bust. They announced line-ups for Fall 2008, Winter/Spring 2009 and Summer 2009 in advance, and ended up changing the schedule around anyway. What is the point to all this NBC? Stick with tradition and get yourself back on track by trying to find quality shows instead of giving up. Just my two cents.

The news gets worse for NBC. ABC has announced it plans to counter program NBC's Super Bowl entertainment telecasts with a sports-star-studded episode of the summer obstacle-course megahit Wipeout.
ABC will air a brief football-themed Wipeout special against NBC's official halftime show headlined by Bruce Springsteen. Then, during NBC's post-Super Bowl presentation of The Office," ABC will air an hour-long Wipeout in which cheerleaders compete against male "couch potato" sports fans.
The two-part ABC special, "Wipeout Superball Sunday," pulls out all the stops to cater to NFL fans: Hall of Famer Michael Irving will lend sideline commentary, the Navy's Blue Angels will perform a flyover, the USC marching band will storm the course, contestants will run a gantlet with quarterbacks pelting them with footballs, NFL luminaries will stop by the commentary booth, and the show's signature Big Balls obstacle has been converted into jumbo-sized footballs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The special is one of the most ambitious Super Bowl Sunday programming plans ever mounted by a non-host network. Yet for the reality show's producer, Endemol, it's familiar territory. In 2002, NBC enjoyed some of Fox's big game thunder by airing a special episode of the Endemol-produced Fear Factor featuring Playboy Playmates as contestants against the halftime show. Fear Factor did 11.4 million viewers that night. The family-friendly Wipeout could attract even more.
ABC plans to air repeats of Wipeout against the game directly itself, with AFV encore from 7-8pm ET. The Super Bowl starts at about 6:30, and the halftime show will likely be around 8pm so the Wipeout halftime special will air then, then they will air two Wipeout repeats from about 8:30ish-10:30ish, before the hour Wipeout special at about 10:30 against The Office. Wipeout will return as a series this summer for a second season. Goodnight and big balls!

Finally, we leave you today with the nominations for the 61st Annual WGA Awards. Comedy wise, 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, The Simpsons and Weeds were nominated for their writing work. While Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Lost, Mad Men and The Wire took writing nominations for dramas. Among the other categories, Life on Mars and Breaking Bad were among the nominees for best new series, Ugly Betty, Eli Stone, 30 Rock, and The Office were among the nominees for actual episodic writing.
View the full nominees.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (December/January)

American Dad! - Volume 11 Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized) The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two Hooperman - Season One

12/06 - Family Guy - Season Fourteen
12/13 - American Dad! - Volume 11
12/13 - Newhart - The Complete Seventh Season
01/03 - Girls - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
01/10 - Broad City - Season 3
01/17 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #2 (Colorized)
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume One
01/17 - The Love Boat - Season Three - Volume Two
01/24 - Hooperman - Season One
01/24 - Hooperman - Season Two
01/31 - Ballers - The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, January 20

Last Man Standing - "A House Divided" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Mike and Vanessa ask newlyweds Mandy and Kyle to tone down their constant displays of affection, Mandy agrees but only if her parents become more discreet in the way they express their feelings to each other. Meanwhile, Kristen gets Eve a gig playing at the Grill, but Ed wants to fire her after a lackluster performance.

Dr. Ken - "A Day in the Life" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Amy (guest star Yvette Nicole Brown), the producer of a documentary health series, follows Ken around to record a typical day at an HMO, giving Ken his big moment in the limelight.  But much to Ken’s chagrin, a series of the less than thrilling day-to-day parts of the job at Welltopia leads Ken to doubt his own career choice.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 16)

Friday, January 20

  • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Catch Anthony on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba/Better with You) - JoAnna visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) - Jim stops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela drops by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years) - John is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He also appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Nicole Byer (Loosely, Exactly Nicole) - Nicole appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Joe Jonas (Jonas L.A.) - Joe guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Bernadette Peters (Mozart in the Jungle/All's Fair) - Bernadette is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is a guest on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Andrew Dice Clay (Bless This House/Hitz) - Andrew stops by Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory/Roseanne - Johnny discusses his role in the new film, Rings, and dishes on this season of The Big Bang Theory on the AOL Build Show at 1pm.